Forbes previously shared plans to go public by merging with NYSE-listed Special Acquisition Vehicle (SPAC) Magnum Opus. Today Forbes announced that cryptocurrency exchange Binance will invest $200 million as part of the $400m private investment in public equity (“PIPE”).
Binance has sometimes struggled to get positive press coverage, partly because of its many run-ins with regulators around the world. Last year, the Protocol posted a long list of Binance’s regulator altercations. And Reuters recently published a piece about anti-money laundering lapses by the exchange.
Given the cryptocurrency sector’s reputation for pump and dump schemes, the association with a crypto exchange, however well-intentioned, doesn’t seem like a great idea.
One might expect a statement that Binance won’t influence Forbes’ editorial direction. But Forbes went in the opposite direction.
“Forbes is committed to demystifying the complexities and providing helpful information about blockchain technologies and all emerging digital assets,” said Mike Federle, CEO, Forbes.
“With Binance’s investment in Forbes, we now have the experience, network and resources of the world’s leading crypto exchange and one of the world’s most successful blockchain innovators. Forbes, already a resource for people interested in the emerging world of digital assets, can become a true leader in the field with their help.”
And Binance CEO Changpeng’ CZ’ Zhao reinforced this. “We look forward to bolstering Forbes’ Digital initiatives as they evolve into a next level investment insights platform,” he said.
In fairness to Forbes, earlier this week, it published its Blockchain 50 companies. The list included crypto exchanges Coinbase and FTX, but not Binance. That’s despite Binance being substantially larger than the other two exchanges combined.
With the latest investment, Binance not only controls the biggest retail publishing outlet for crypto pricing data but also could potentially influence editorial.
In March 2020, Binance acquired CoinMarketCap, the most popular provider of crypto pricing. Since then, CoinGecko has rapidly started to catch up but still only has half the traffic levels, according to SimilarWeb.
The sheer volumes of money in the crypto sector mean more mainstream acquisitions are on the cards. There’s already been an acquisition of a tiny bank, but as this investment demonstrates, some in the crypto sector can afford to buy organizations that aren’t so small.